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SteveNickolls

PrimaLuceLab’s Eagle Core

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Hi noah4x4, that is all very interesting and most useful to know-thanks. I had wondered if the Eagle Core's Wi-Fi range had been compromised at night with more people being at home and all using their 2.4GHz channels for whatever purposes they had. It would be worth me checking during the day and in the evening to see what numbers of networks are in the vicinity and what variabilty happens. I haven't really looked into things in any depth but I think I recall the unit having 11 possible channels to use and seeing it preset to channel 6 which I understand is one of the three non-overlapping channels on the band.

I'm rather stuck with just using 2.4 GHz with the Eagle Core but I do like how you have neatly resolved your communication issues using the 5 GHz 'Wholehome' discs. I don't have any outside building in which the mount is located but I would be tempted to use a wired solution. I have used a crossover Ethernet cable to control imaging with the Eagle Core from a laptop indoors but ideally prefer to avoid cables wherever I can. It is a very poignant point that your friend makes regarding foil backed plasterboard affecting the signal passage. Good luck by the way with your project making your set up smaller to more meet your needs. The Eagle Core does have the strong selling points of being quite petite at around 155 mm x 80 mm x 30 mm, weighing around  512g and its box metal construction with pre-drilled holes allow the unit to become a rigid part of the imaging rig. I do like how the unit can be used to power peripherals (I power the mount and DSLR), keeping cabling short and ready for use. The ability to interface its proprietory (I think Linux-based 'Eagle App') using either Windows, iOS, Android OS etc. machines also opens it up to a wider number of potential users. I mentioned in some earlier post that the device is quite modestly powered cpu-wise using an ARM A7 1 GHz quad core with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB SSD on board bearing in mind its intended use.

Cheers,
Steve

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Hi Steve,

So far I am the only one in our group using the Eagle Core.  Most of the members are doing visual observation with dobs.  Other members of the group who do Astro photography are using  wired systems.  Since I am close to the scope when doing my photography I haven't had any wireless connection problems with the Eagle Core, but I am only using it for goto and camera control, not guiding.

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What I struggle to understand is how devices like the Eagle (and ASIAir) work with such a limited processor and so little RAM. Begs the question, will it work with large sensor high resolution CMOS cameras like ZWO ASI294 or Atik Horizon?

My 16 megapixel Atik Horizon churns out 3840 x 2040 resolution and hence generates huge files. If I stack/save these using two second exposures (on Hyperstar) whilst running CPWI scope software and autofocussing software then Windows Resource Monitor suggests that I am close to running out of CPU and memory resources despite having a decent 7i5 processor and 4Gb RAM. My computer resolves this, but not in 'real time' as it takes longer to process than than actual total exposure integration time. For single long exposure AP I guess this doesn't matter,  but for EVAA it is a tad sluggish. I am about to increase RAM to 16Gb having discussed this with Atik Support who suggested that 4Gb was a tad lightweight. 

If the Eagle has merely an ARM A7 at 1 GHz with 1 Gb RAM, what is the maximum camera specification it will handle?  Past CCDs have tended to be modest resolution, but more recent CMOS are far more demanding (example ASI294 at 11.7 megapixel). Do Prima Luci offer any guidance? 

 

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Hi Noah4x4,

The Eagle Core is designed to take photos through a DSLR or comparable mirrorless camera that store all photos internally.  It is also designed to allow guiding with typical guide cameras.  However, I found that when I tried to use Eagle Core to guide with my ZWO asi178 (3096 x 2080 px) it reported that the camera resolution was only about half the actual pixel count in each direction.  I don't know if they were using a smaller portion of the sensor or binning the pixels.  When I asked PLL about this they said it was necessary to prevent overloading the processor.  Unfortunately this was not mentioned in any of there spec sheets or the manual. This was one of the reasons I don't use the Eagle Core software for guiding.

I use the Eagle Core camera control software with my DSLR (24 mpix) to control exposure time and the number of photos taken at each exposure.  When an exposure is completed the camera downloads a copy of image to the Eagle Core through a USB connection and then displays it wirelessly on my ipad.  The Eagle Core only stores the image temporarily until it is overwritten by the next image or the unit is shutdown.  It takes a few seconds before I can see the image after the exposure is completed.  I suspect that the delay is mostly due to the wireless data transfer.  This is not a problem since my exposures are generally long and I have plenty of time to view images between shots.  I can also zoom in to see if I have round stars.

 

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That response suggests to me that devices like the Eagle 3 are fine for long exposure AP (where delay matters little), notably with DSLRs that have internal storage,  but might struggle where one is is using a high resolution CMOS astro-camera (like ASI178 mentioned) requiring external storage and even more so if multiple short exposure stacks for Electronically Assisted Astronomy (known in SGL as EEVA) are required. 

Indeed,  can it handle stacking in a manner similar to Sharpcap, Infinity, SG Pro or Maxim DL? Can anybody confirm?

Or is the Eagle 3 simply acting as transmitter sending camera and control data to your (indoor) more powerful laptop which then handles the camera software?

What about ASIair and AtikBase? I have tentatively been looking at these devices and the manufacturer websites are unclear what cameras or processes they will (or won't) support.

If I tried to run my 16 megapixel camera with (say) SG Pro on a PC with a low specification processor and merely 1 Gb RAM it is certain to choke. So how are they doing this, or are there limitations that are not stated in the marketing material (as confirmed by the previous poster)?

It would helpful if some Eagle 3 (and ASIAir and AtikBase) users could clarify. 

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My understanding on the Eagle Core spec

image.png.a0378761ed9b8f134f594efef2518104.png

(taken from the technical data tab on https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p9959_PrimaLuceLab-EAGLE-CORE---Control-Unit-for-astrophotography-with-a-DSLR-camera.html  ) is that the ARM cpu is very efficient and runs a proprietory Eagle App, I think Linux based. I understand ARM cpu's are used very widely to run bespoke systems using little power. This is however enough grunt to perform the necessary image acquisition and guiding, perhaps just enough. That is why I am unsure if any developments in terms of dark frame subtraction to help with guiding would be possible given the hardware limitations. The other products in the Eagle stable use Win 10 Enterprise edition that is stripped down of the usual bloatware and the user has the freedom to add whatever astronomy programmes they want to use. The differences in the larger models is the specification of the cpu and memory involved (that is both RAM and storage memory). Off the PLL website-

image.png.0d4e63ec3f1cc214886accb59688af22.png

Note there is no specification given here for the Eagle Core.

I am really interested in your comment JEM_svca -

3 hours ago, JEM_svca said:

I found that when I tried to use Eagle Core to guide with my ZWO asi178 (3096 x 2080 px) it reported that the camera resolution was only about half the actual pixel count in each direction.

as at one time I tinkered with the idea of getting such a camera for guiding. I certainly didn't read any information in the PLL literature to that effect. The ASI178 has a 6Mpx sensor of course.

I'd also mention that the last image you see on your tablet or pc is of the JPEG taken not the RAW image, this will have a smaller file size which presumably the device can handle fairly speedily. It actually explains a lot about the Eagle Core device, not detrimental given its use but understanding its limitations.

Regards,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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Hi Noah4x4,

Just to be clear all my comments are with regard to the Eagle Core and do not suggest any limitations for the Eagle 3.  You can't load any image processing software or any other software into the Eagle Core like you can with the Eagle 3.  With the Eagle Core you are limited to the functionality built into the unit.

Hi Steve,

Regarding dark frame subtraction, this is done in my camera when you turn on the log exposure noise reduction feature.  I wasn't expecting the Eagle Core to do this for me.  I was hoping instead that it would simply be intelligent enough to display the end result.  Unfortunately it doesn't display any image when the LENR feature is used.  The camera however, still records the image.  I just don't have any way to see it unless I disconnect the camera from the Eagle Core and look at the image on the camera display.  This is a real nuisance.

 

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Hi JEM_svca, my mistake, I was referring to a desired ability in the Eagle App to take a dark frame for use when guiding to pre entry guiding on a stuck pixel. Appreciate you would also like to perform long exposure noise reduction with your DSLR when controlled by the Eagle App. 😀 It all does make me wonder if adding such a feature in the software is simply too much to pack into the memory.

Cheers,

Steve

 

 

 

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Hi Steve,

Sorry I misunderstood.  As already discussed, it would be nice to be able to create a bad pixel map for the guide camera.  Regarding the DSLR, it seems like it would only take a small tweak to the Eagle Core firmware to delay uploading the image until after the in=camera long exposure noise reduction is finished.  The camera itself is able to do this when not connected to the Eagle Core.

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